Two nonprofits, separated by more than 2,000 miles, east to west coast, recently launched a joint scholarship effort to bring attention to the gender gap and lack of diverse talent in aviation, specifically pilots.
Through a creative joint effort, east coast’s Liftoff Learning and west coast’s I Hart Flying Foundation have teamed up to offer flight scholarships over a 6-week themed ‘scholarship showdown’ social media campaign. With the lack of qualified pilots looming over the aviation industry, both organizations, founded on the mission to advance youth in aviation and flight training, refused to sit by and not act. Liftoff Learning and I Hart Flying realized breaking down silos and working together is one of many ways to partner and grow talent of diverse aviation and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals.
“I was given the gift of flight in 2010 which steered my passion for aviation,” shared Rachelle, founder of I Hart Flying, based near Pasadena, Ca. I Hart Flying – especially given March is Women’s History Month and having celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8 – aims to offer more access to young women who wish to fly, have the dream of becoming a pilot, yet resources are limited. Rachelle is an accomplished aviator who currently holds a commercial single-pilot jet type rating, having flown general aviation, corporate and military aircraft, warbirds, and rotorcraft. With philanthropy at her core, “Now I have a chance to pay it forward for more young women to explore the joy of flying with fellow partners, donors and aviation enthusiasts joining our efforts!” Rachelle already completed outreach events and secured several key partners across the industry such as the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA), Bose Corporation, JetAviva, Base Turn and Aviation Life clothing.
“We are excited at the opportunity to bring the gift of flight to young people who may otherwise find pursuing a pilot’s license an unattainable goal,” expressed Liftoff Learning’s founders. “Through this scholarship, we hope to inspire a diverse group of aspiring aviators to follow their passion. By documenting and sharing the journey to becoming a certificated Private Pilot we hope to help more than just this year’s scholarship winner gain their wings.” This growing organization, based near Richmond, Va., uses mixed-media, interactive, hands-on personalized experiences to attract youth into STEM and aviation programs.
Today marks the official launch date for these two high-energy aviation organizations to excite youth, provide financial opportunities for young people through scholarships, allowing them to realize their dream of flight. Each organization have set scholarship criteria and application details, made available on their websites. It’s expected final recipients will be selected in April or May 2018, with flight training to follow shortly after the scholars are announced publically.